— Cathy Hills (@fleurhills) February 8, 2017
I was struck by a news item this week about the use of bodycams for teachers as a means of addressing disruptive behaviour in the classroom. It seems an extreme measure and appears to tackle the symptom of a breakdown rather than the cause. The use of bodycams for recording pupils without consent raises topical crucial issues of privacy, trust and surveillance and may only serve to further fracture relationships within the learning community. The report made me think of this as an essentialist and instrumentalist use of technology in an offline community to deter or improve behaviour.
Is it any easier to maintain order in an online community? I recall the first week in IDEL when we explored inflammatory and other anti-social behaviours in discussion forums.
Observing the learning community’s online ‘netiquette’ was established at the start of the Mooc I have enrolled in. However, a less comfortable means of ‘encouraging’ participation is apparent when completing the participatory exercises. If students participate, answers are marked correct only for having taken part. When omitting to participate and choosing to say so, answers are marked as incorrect. This seems to be a nudge to follow the course in a prescribed way and feels slightly controlling. Whilst it may be intended only to ensure students contribute to the community for the good of all, it has hints of marshalling individuals to increase completion numbers or fulfil other concealed motivations. Of course, I may have misinterpreted or understood the course mechanisms at this early point.